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Stir it up magazine AUGUST 2017

Pub’s owners Ashley and Kelly McCarthy AUGUST 2017 5 It’s hard to be ‘all things to all people’ – but Ye Old Sun Inn is proving just that for the residents of a picturesque village. The bustling pub is the heart of the community of Colton, North Yorkshire, providing a place to meet, eat, drink, shop, socialise and be entertained. The pub’s owners, Ashley and Kelly McCarthy, who have been in situ since 2004, have transformed the venue into a busy hub. Says Ashley, 46: “I’ve always been a chef, working in pubs and hotels – but I like pubs the best. I met my wife in the industry and, after our first son was born, I went into teaching because of the easy hours but I missed the pub game and the buzz you get - but I didn’t want to go back to working for someone else.” So the ambitious couple bought the Sun Inn, which was more of a restaurant than a pub. “It had a good reputation but we wanted to go back to being a pub so we grasped it by the horns and pushed the drinking side. Food is our biggest thing and we wouldn’t be here without it, but now you can come here for a pint, not just a meal.” After buying the freehold in 2009, the McCarthys set about extending the premises, creating two rooms for drinking, a separate restaurant – and a chocolate shop! Outside is an al fresco dining area with outdoor pizza oven. “The chocolate shop is a big bolt-on for the business and we also sell homemade jams CUSTOMER PROFILE THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY YSe uOnl dI nn and chutneys,” says Ashley, a self-taught chocolatier, who won a Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Award for his gin-infused chocolates last year. “It started when, every year at Christmas, I used to make a chocolate house and fill it with sweets for our children. Now I make it for the local hospice and put it on display in the pub to raise money for them.” In terms of their food offering, Ashley divides it into two styles: casual dining and takeaway from the outdoor pizza oven and bar. “There’s nothing else in the village so it’s nice to be able to offer people the opportunity to pick a pizza up on the way home from work,” he explains. But the main element is “restaurant quality food but with pub flair”, all made using local produce. Country Range Herbs and Spices are Ashley’s go-to products for adding flavour to his dishes. “They really are exceptional quality,” he advises. “I use the Country Range Mixed Spice in our Eccles Cakes (along with Country Range Sultanas and Soft Brown Sugar) and they’re our biggest sellers at our coffee mornings.” Whilst Ashley is firmly entrenched in the kitchen, Kelly runs the front of house, and the team comprises four chefs, plus four full-time and 12 part-time front of house staff. Their son Ben, 16, who has Down syndrome, is truly in his element front of house too. “He loves the interaction with customers so I’ve been abandoned in the kitchen,” laughs Ashley. “He likes the glory of doing food festivals with me though! “This pub has been our life since 2004 and has fulfilled everything we have ever wanted – but monopolised it too! I can’t remember life before it now.” home is where the pub is


Stir it up magazine AUGUST 2017
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